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What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill-Part Four

THE CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Hon. Majome you did debate before.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I forgot something but I realised that in terms of Standing Order No. 173, at Committee stage I am allowed to rejoin.  I had forgotten Mr. Chairman and I thank you for indulgence.  I urge the Hon. Members and the Hon. Vice President to look at clause 5 in particularly sub-clause 2; its wording.

 Mr. Chairman, where it reads that for the purpose of this section and section 171 (b), “it is declared for the avoidance of doubt”.  I rise to say that and I had forgotten to say that this is without precedence to have a statute, an Act of Parliament that is couched in words that say ‘it is declared’.  I have never certainly seen it before in my 21 or so years as a legal practitioner and indeed as a Member of Parliament, we have never legislated and passed any Act/enactment that has the words ‘it is declared’.  It is not normal for Parliament to go around declaring things.  Parliament has authority, it legislates, if it passes something, it says what it says.  For you to then say, ‘it is declared’ for the avoidance of doubt, this indeed sounds alien and it does not sound like good law.

I would urge Hon. Members because I do not want this Parliament to go down in history as having done things that are never done before; it is inelegant and it does not look right and sound right.  Why is Parliament declaring anything?  If Parliament wants to pass something, let it just pass it.  Why are we suddenly declaring things?  It is as if we do not believe in our own authority, but possibly we are declaring because we know that what we are proposing to amend is not right and is not constitutional and should not be done.  Maybe that is why we are seeking to declare.  I thank you.

Hon. Chamisa having stood up to debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  They are people who do not understand that the Vice President is a very patient man.  You know he has shown his patience and is very patient.  We all know that.  You know what has happened in the country, he is very patient, I admire his patience. – [Laughter.] – So, I know that he will appreciate what we are trying to drive at.

THE CHAIRMAN: Hon. Chamisa, please.

 HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Hon. Speaker, when I look at section 174, it is very clear that the emphasis on the ‘for the avoidance of doubt’ carries with it a sting and some mischief in it.  Once you say for the avoidance of doubt, you are trying to say to people whom you believe or perceive to be disagreeing with you, this is what I am saying regardless of what you think or what you are saying.  That is the net import of ‘for the avoidance’ of doubt clause.  This is very sad particularly when has regard to the gains of labour rights in terms of Section 65, particularly in terms of how the perking order and ranking of our courts is structured. 

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